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The Firehouse Kitchen Table: The Perfect Podium to Promote Health and Wellness

The Firehouse Kitchen Table: The Perfect Podium to Promote Health and Wellness

Some of the best memories and learning moments in the fire service don’t take place on the fireground or in a classroom setting; rather they take place around the table while we eat as a shift or take the time to talk over a cup of joe.

Downtime in the firehouse can often lead to complacency or at times the development of poor eating habits. In May of 2017, I finally acknowledged that I was a liability to both my crew and the people I was being paid to serve. Weighing in at a whopping 315 lbs., I was no longer an asset to the department. Regardless of my education and experience, I had become a risk due to my health which was making me more of a hindrance than a help.

For years I took advantage of downtime by losing myself in a TV marathon of Law & Order while inhaling sleeves of Oreo cookies and double fisting bear claws. While trying to capitalize on these moments to teach the new guys about our department’s rich history, I was setting a poor example as to how a firefighter should portray themselves physically.

Now over two (2) years later and down a 141+ lbs., I am influencing those around me (veterans and probies) the benefits to health and fitness by sharing protein packed and low carb meals on shift. Now as we sit around the kitchen table (or soap box for some), the lessons learned through experience are still gained and in return we are also bettering our department by creating a climate where health and fitness are just as much of a priority as checking the rigs, training, and ensuring that the coffee pot is always fresh and full for the Chief.

Firehouse Favorite: Personal Performance, LLC Tailgate Chili

A new firehouse favorite for my crew on D-shift is a protein packed, cost effective, and crazy delicious chili that I was first introduced to through my trainers at Personal Performance, LLC.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. Ground Turkey (Bison or Lean Beef for Preference)
  • Three (3) Peppers (Green or Tri-Colored)
  • Two (2) 8 oz. Containers of FRESH sliced Mushrooms
  • Two (2) Large Onions (Red, Yellow, or White)
  • Five (5) Large Tomatoes
  • One (1) Packet of Low Sodium Chili Mix/Powder
  • Two (2) Small Cans of Tomato Paste
  • 1 Packet of Stevia (To Neutralize the Acid)

Prepping & Cooking:

  • Chop and cook ALL veggies in a pan with Coconut Oil
  • Stir in Low Sodium Chili Mix/Powder
  • Pour cooked contents into Crock-Pot
  • Brown preferred meat (Turkey, Bison, or Lean Beef)
  • Add cans of Tomato Paste
  • Pour cooked meat into Crock-Pot
  • Mix, let cook on Low, and enjoy!!!!

For those NOT too conscience of their carbohydrate intake, I also like to whip up a quick batch of corn bread in a waffle iron. Serving a heaping pile of this delicious and nutritious chili over a corn bread waffle sets the tone (and the table) for a shift meal that is conducive to not only keeping the cost low and taste buds excited, but in turn will help to promote the desire for healthier options at work rather than going for the easy fixes of pizza, pasta, and potato chips.

(Personal Performance, LLC are Lifstyle Personal Trainers and can be found at www.personalperformancepros.com)

AB Turenne is a 21-year veteran of the fire service in Eastern Connecticut. As a Certified Level II Fire Service Instructor, AB's training curriculum has proven to be conducive with the operational needs of those he teaches and in turn has improved the human capital knowledge of many. A graduate from the Masters of Public Administration program at Anna Maria College, AB has continued his efforts in training and education by contributing to the Fire Engineering Training Community.

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